My Search for an Entry-Level Green Job, Part One

Even their gowns are green at Evergreen.Hello, my name is Michael. I am a new writer here at Planetsave and I will be spending my first couple months documenting my personal search for a green job amidst America’s growing economic hardship.

I am in a good position to find a job, or so I hope.

I graduated a few months ago from The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington with a B.A. degree emphasizing environmental policy. My studies in college pertained to social and political solutions to environmental problems, particularly global warming. I was part of a group that documented our school’s entire carbon footprint, which is, to my knowledge, the most comprehensive study of a college campus’s footprint to date.

I then produced a nearly carbon-free economic policy for Washington’s Thurston County before concluding my studies with a mix of energy policy, political ecology and sustainable business courses.[social_buttons]

But I had no idea what to do after I graduated. News about the burgeoning green economy made me think that my education and skills would be put to best use in the green business sector, but I was not certain. I decided to travel for a couple months to clear my mind and perhaps find a job somewhere along the way.

I left Olympia the day after my classes wrapped up. I stopped early on in Denver for the Democratic National Convention protests. Despite my somewhat radical leanings, I found myself having mixed feelings on the effectiveness of the protests and the purpose behind the actions. While out on the streets, I spoke to the media on several occasions about my internal conflicts about the protests.

However, being at the convention protests did reenergize my faith in taking direct and indirect action against injustice. After playing it calm during the DNC, I decided to be a more active participant at the Republican National Convention the following week. At that convention I was arrested for “unlawful use of public property,” a gross misdemeanor with a maximum (though unlikely) penalty of one year in prison.

After those intense weeks of protest and traveling, I arbitrarily decided to stay in Chicago and began looking for jobs. The idea of getting into “green capitalism” was made sour by weeks of radical action paired with the economy sinking deeper by the day. So instead, I’ve decided to look for a job in the non-profit sector.

I’ve barely got my feet off the ground in this job search, but I’ve already realized that I am sorely lacking in on-the-job experience. So, for my first…

Green Job Search Tip of the Week:

Take at least one internship position in college! Don’t let uncertainty about your career path get in your way. I was unsure whether I wanted to be in political work or green business, and so I interned with neither sector. A nonprofit internship would still have boosted an eco-entrepreneur resume, and vise versa. There is absolutely no way that taking an internship for college credit in even a semi-related field would not seriously help your job prospects.

I plan to publish weekly updates on my quest for a green job here on Planetsave, so remember to check back every Tuesday. And of course, best of luck to anyone else out there looking for a green job.

10 thoughts on “My Search for an Entry-Level Green Job, Part One”

  1. I am about to graduate from College with a B.A. in Biology with many classes concentrated in Environmental Biology. Currently I am working as a Environmental Educator work study student at the University. Other than traveling around, clearing your head, what were your first steps in finding a green job? I’m having a hard time knowing where to start looking.

  2. that’s awesome you got out there to protest those corrupt governmental parties. they are what’s stopping the green movement from actually making progress. emily is exactly on the ball, the same as the i’m hoping to find something with one of the energy alternative type operations too.

  3. To paraphrase a finance professor I had at Slone many years ago – it’s not a job market, it’s a market of jobs. You’ll find yours, too.

  4. Good luck to you, but I would pursue other green careers where you would actually something about the problem rather than study the problem. We already know about carbon footprinting, global warming, and climate change. We know what the impact is, so why keep re-inventing the wheel? Work for a biodiesel company in Oregon, or a company that builds solar panels, some place that actually makes something.

    I work for a biodiesel company, and I am so sick of people who talk about being “green” and “environmental impacts” when what we really need are innovators and builders. Lets stop talking about it and start doing something about it. A green collar economy my friend will focus its efforts on building and innovation, not discussion and education.

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